Pastors get lots of comments. Some comments are positive and some negative. Comments and feedback revolve around programs, facilities, staff, worship and music. I like positive comments. Everyone likes a compliment. I filter criticisms by asking who is making the complaint and if the issue is really the issue (often it is not, but something deeper is going on). When I receive a comment about a particular program, I ask if the person making the comment has talked directly to the staff person involved. When that has not happened, I urge people to talk directly to each other, and try to help make that happen.
This week a good friend took the risk to talk to me about me, about how I was coming across in a particular area. It was accurate and it was not good to hear. My friend's assessment was right. He came to me quietly and with love. It was risky on his part, but it was a gift to me. Now I need to do some adjusting of behavior because of this gift of a whispered word.
In talking with another pastor this summer, we talked about this very issue; how many voices there are all around us but how isolated pastors can become, not having a circle of trusted friends who can "whisper" into their lives. Who whispers into your life? Whose voice do you trust to bring both the compliment and the critique? Whose life do you whisper into?